Friday, July 17, 2009

Barn Swallows under the Eaves

I knew that the first brood of barn swallows had flown and that mom was sitting on new eggs. We saw the new chicks this week. I knew I wanted to get some photos when they were little . . . but there is always a lot to do so I didn't get out to photograph until this morning. Sadly I had seen two chicks the other day . . . today I only saw one. But it was so cute and alert as it waited for its parents to bring food. Of course, if a fly or insect flew near, it opened that wide mouth and snapped out. I enjoyed watching the chick stretch out its still downy wings. It is already grooming and flapping those wings. I'm wondering if that is what happened to the other chicken - squirming in the next, flapping the wings, getting unbalanced, and then falling out.

Both mother and father barn swallow bring food to the chicks. In checking more about barn swallows - long tails and darker red chested colors are the preferred choices of female barn swallows. Note that this father has deep coloration - must be a prize catch!

And I think the first group of fledgllngs would like to come back as I've seen the parents chase off some other swallow presumably the first group. However, unmated barn swallows can also come in and kill nestlings hoping to get their chance to mate with the female. I just know we've seen some aerial battles around the nest the last week or so.

While some people don't like the mess the nesting swallows make on porches under their nest, I'm grateful to have these small chicks living under my eaves. Not only do I enjoy watching them, but I also know that they help reduce the mosquito population around my yard.

While I've got other photos from the first clutch that I intend to post either here or my website, this is one of my favorite shots from today.

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